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Sophisticated 1940s Retro Sweetheart Brooch with Sass

Catalogue: Archives: Estate Jewelry: Silver: Retro: Pre 1950   item# 722522

Sophisticated 1940s Retro Sweetheart Brooch with Sass
 click for details

GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
505.205.1404


Sold; thank you! 

This fabulous World War II jewel wasn't for just anybody's sweetheart! It was for a gal who kept the home fires burning with swagger, sparkle and style -- as well as heart.

The iconic, pared-down silhouette of the early '40s didn't happen by accident, by the way; designers had to cope with the challenge of severe fabric shortages and did it brilliantly. Full skirts wouldn't be seen again, until after the war was over, when Rosie the Riveter morphed into Donna Reed. Another effect of the conflict on fashion was that it promoted wider use of sterling silver. Because most lesser metals were commandeered for military purposes, the lines between fine and costume jewelry blurred.

It's exciting to see a jewel that captures as much history as this one. We can feel sure it's authentically of the period, due to the presence of age-appropriate wear: the fine pattern of surface scratches that adds rich depths to silver's sheen. In other respects, the brooch is like new, showing no dings or other damage. Measuring a bold 2.75 by 2 inches wide and hallmarked 925, it has a very nice heft, as you can imagine. It will make a truly impressive Power Jewel, when worn with your best suits today.

There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Thanks for looking!



Historically Important Czech Cameo Necklace c 1919

Catalogue: Archives: Estate Jewelry: Pre 1920   item# 721675

Historically Important Czech Cameo Necklace c 1919
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GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
505.205.1404


Sold; thank you! 

In terms of cameo history, here's the "missing link" between the type we think of as 19th century (despite including very early 20th century examples that continued the neoclassical or Art Nouveau style) and those that are decidedly 20th century, featuring the thoroughly modern, short-haired flapper girls of the 1920s and their successors.

Cameos of course mirror our changing standards of beauty and I've never before seen one that so perfectly illustrates the spirit of the transitional period between Edwardian and Art Deco design eras. We can date it quite precisely to that timeframe, because it's signed Czecho. This mark was used for just a few years after creation of the Czech Republic at the end of World War I. The region was previously known as Bohemia, part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The young lady pictured here presents an entirely new vision of elegance. Her hair, while on the long side, is quite a lot shorter than was seen before the war, during which large numbers of women worked for the first time in roles other than domestic service. Hairstyles thus had to become more practical. Her attire also isn't idealized; it's no toga or fairy-like wisp, but quite easily recognizable as an evening gown, accented by an orchid corsage. And her face is that of a real person -- not just pretty, but strong and poised. There are no frou-frous in the background, either. Capping off the design breakthrough of the cameo is that it appears to be of carved coral, complete with natural color variations, but is actually celluloid -- the latest thing!

The frame is also truly exceptional: refined and elaborately worked in the Edwardian manner, but larger and significantly bolder in form -- obviously experimental in the best sense, reflecting openness to new influences and impulses.

Both the cameo and setting are in gorgeous condition. Since celluloid is a notably delicate material, it's clear the jewel has been treated with utmost care (as it well deserves). Gilding remains extremely brilliant, even on the reverse and outer edges. When a chain is separate, not integral, we can't establish firmly that it's original; however, I believe this one is, based on its graceful, intricate structure and the extent of patina present.

In every aspect, this jewel is an absolute WOW. The framed cameo measures about 2 inches by 1.5 inches and the chain is 17.5 inches long. Provenance is a West Coast estate.

There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail erinharris@comcast.net to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!



Exquisite Antique Gilt and Celluloid Coral Bracelet

Catalogue: Archives: Estate Jewelry: Gold: Victorian: Pre 1900   item# 721540

Exquisite Antique Gilt and Celluloid Coral Bracelet
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GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
505.205.1404


Sold; thank you! $289.

(Free U.S. Priority Shipping
& Gift-Wrap if Desired) 

Besides being simply gorgeous, this antique bracelet is rare and fascinating, both for its composition and its miraculous condition. The three roses that look like carved angelskin coral are actually of a very early plastic -- most likely Zylonite (sometimes spelled Xylonite), a form of what we came to call celluloid. Technically all the variants are cellulose nitrate, a notably delicate substance, and yet these intricately formed flowers remain perfect after more than a century! The gilt brass metalwork -- stunningly engraved, adorned with applied foliate details and rich with time's patina -- is in superlative shape, too. This bracelet must not only have worn very little, but also stored with the utmost care.

Based on indications like the type of catch, the slightly oval shape and the Victorian style, this bracelet could have been made as early as the 1870s and almost certainly is no younger than the 1880s.

Its origin is most likely English, since the firm known to be producing this lovely faux-coral from around 1870 was the British Xylonite Company. They did have a licensee in Massachusetts, The American Zylonite Company, but only in the 1880s.

The only flaw I can find is that there was probably a safety chain, since two tiny triangular loops are positioned to hold one. The catch is quite secure, but you or your jeweler can easily add a bit of chain, if you want to.

Hinged, the bracelet opens wide and it's sized for an average wrist, up to about 7 inches. (If it weren't too big for me, I'd keep it.) Provenance is a West Coast estate.

There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail erinharris@comcast.net to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!



Fascinating German Art Deco Brooch and Earrings Set

Catalogue: Archives: Estate Jewelry: Costume: Rhinestone: Pre 1930   item# 720774

Fascinating German Art Deco Brooch and Earrings Set
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GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
505.205.1404


Sold; thank you! $160. 

Here's a truly exciting antique demi-parure from "Cabaret"-era Germany. There's something marvelously wicked about roses in the colors of midnight moonlight, each holding a brilliant rhinestone dewdrop -- and there's something quite magical about the fact that they weigh no more than a breeze. They're of aluminum enameled in matte black, and the ornately stamped petal edges glitter with mock-marcasites.

This spectacular, highly dimensional set is a triumph of doing much with little, and you'll remember that extremely hard times befell Germany after World War I, due to the savage terms of the Versailles Treaty (which unfortunately contributed to Hitler's rise). Obviously, not much jewelry was made there in the Deco era -- or even in later Retro times, when materials were devoted to another war effort. Their rarity makes these pieces all the more special -- and there's extra poignance in the fact that they seem to have been worn very little, if at all, suggesting that the original owner didn't survive the next war (or at least had to leave them behind in the chaos). That they're marked "Made in Germany" means they can't possibly be post-WWII, when the country was divided into East and West, nor did Germany export to English-speaking markets after war broke out, so common sense and the Deco styling tie the set firmly to the 1920s or early 1930s.

Somehow it reached an estate in the Upper Midwest and from there came to us. The brooch is about 2 inches round and the earrings are about 1.25 inches round. Condition, as you see, is pristine. I love how perfectly these jewels evoke a brief but momentous period of European history and hope you will, too!

There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail erinharris@comcast.net to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!



Beautiful Edwardian Garland Style Suffragette Earrings

Catalogue: Archives: Estate Jewelry: Gold: Edwardian: Pre 1920   item# 706982

Beautiful Edwardian Garland Style Suffragette Earrings
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GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
505.205.1404


Sold; thank you! $145

(Free U.S. Priority Shipping
& Gift-Wrap if Desired) 

These are easily the loveliest Suffragette earrings we've ever had the opportunity to offer, featuring an airy openwork setting that screams Garland Style. This was essentially a fit of neo-classicism, thrown in reaction to the excesses of Art Nouveau. Cartier was the movement's first exemplar around 1900. It had only a brief heyday, unfortunately, since World War I changed the mood entirely (leading to the dominance of sleek, modernistic Art Deco forms).

Garland Style jewels have a refined and delicately lacy look, employing decorative elements used in the late 18th century (and, long before then, in real classical times). This half-wreath of precisely detailed leaves and tendrils is a pretty example -- the sort of pattern we see often as inlay in Georgian and later Edwardian furniture -- but here it takes on what was then a very modern touch: stones in Suffragette colors!

As you know if you collect Suffragette jewelry, the unusual combination of green, purple and white had deep meaning for early feminists. For them, green represented hope, purple signified dignity and white stood for purity. The language we associate with "regard" jewelry applied, too: The "G" of green, "W" of white and "V" of violet comprised an abbreviation for Give Women (the) Vote. All this seems cryptic now, but was clearly understood by everyone in an era when messages were also communicated by which flowers you sent, how you held your fan and which corner of a calling card you folded down, if any. The wealthiest suffragettes mixed amethysts and pearls or diamonds with green stones such as emeralds or peridots, but pretend gems were naturally favored by the majority.

In this case, we have faux jade of beautifully marbled early plastic (probably Galalith, invented in the 1890s) plus amethyst pastes and faux pearls. Everything remains in wonderful condition, including the gilding. It takes high magnification to notice any surface wear at all. That isn't unusual, since Suffragette jewels were worn only occasionally (most notably, when marching for the vote). To the Suffragettes' efforts through many decades in the U.K. and U.S., we modern women owe that right, which was finally extended to all American women in 1920 and to all in Great Britain in 1928.

Tucked away and forgotten for decades, Suffragette jewelry has been rapidly gaining value since the movie "Iron Jawed Angels" appeared in 2004, revealing what the gals went through (including hunger strikes and beatings). Wearing Suffragette jewels is a great way to show your pride and appreciation and, now that the genre has been rediscovered, they're getting much harder to find. We try our best to maintain a good selection, but demand keeps growing. If these earrings strike your fancy, you'd better not delay. They date from circa 1905 - 1915 and reached us from a San Francisco estate. The have screw fasteners right for the period and could have been made by an East Coast firm in America, although the quality of the stones suggests origin in Bohemia or France.

There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping and gift wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail erinharris@comcast.net to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!



1920s Art Deco Jeweled Suffragette Earrings

Catalogue: Archives: Estate Jewelry: Costume: Rhinestone: Pre 1930   item# 706912

1920s Art Deco Jeweled Suffragette Earrings
 click for details

GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
505.205.1404


Sold; thank you! $135. 

When green, violet and white appear together on historic jewelry, this unusual color combination typically signifies that the piece was first owned by a member of the Suffragette movement -- for whom green represented hope, purple signified dignity and white stood for purity. The language we associate with "regard" jewelry applied, too: The "G" of green, "W" of white and "V" of violet comprised an abbreviation for Give Women (the) Vote. All this seems cryptic now, but was well understood by everyone in the days when messages were also communicated by which flowers you sent, how you held your fan and which corner of a calling card you folded down, if any.

To the Suffragettes' efforts through many decades in the U.K. and U.S., we modern women owe our right to vote. That right was finally extended to all American women in 1920 and to all in Great Britain in 1928. Thus, although most of the jewelry is Victorian, Edwardian or transitional, some dates from the Art Deco era.

These spectacular earrings were among the last examples, dating from the 1920s. By American 75-year standards, they're already antique, not just vintage. Richly embellished with faux pearls, amethysts and beautifully marbled jade(probably Czech), the earrings are highly dimensional and of excellent quality, with a nice heft. Each measures about 1 inch by 1 1/4 inches. The gilt metal features lattice-like detail and cutwork and its color is prettily patinated by age, not brassy. Based on dating, they were most likely made in England (although they could be American, produced in celebration of the Suffragettes' recent triumph here). Condition of the earrings is lovely and the original screw backs are present. Interestingly, we had this same design once before, but with lavender jades as the central stones and accents of emerald and pearl. It's beautiful, either way.

Suffragette jewelry has been rapidly gaining value since the movie "Iron Jawed Angels" appeared in 2004, revealing what those gals went through (including hunger strikes and beatings). Wearing Suffragette jewels is a great way to show your pride and appreciation and, now that the genre has been rediscovered, they're getting much harder to find. These reached us from an East Coast estate.

Thanks for looking!



Elegant Early BELAIS HWK 14k White Gold Cufflinks

Catalogue: Archives: Estate Jewelry: Gold: Edwardian: Pre 1910   item# 706882

Elegant Early BELAIS  HWK 14k White Gold Cufflinks
 click for details

GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
505.205.1404


Sold; thank you! 

Ideal for gentlemen who prefer simpler jewelry, here's a somewhat understated early Belais design from the Edwardian era. These are also ideal for gifting, since they're in lovely condition and have monogram plaques not yet initialed.

On all four octagonal faces, which measure half an inch in each direction and are slightly domed, an octagonal medallion with scalloped edges frames the central plaque and is filled in with subtle pinstripe and paisley engraving. Surrounding this are demi-lune shapes adorned with foliate forms and, alternately, stripes and stipples. Varying motifs also decorate the edges, shifting between millegrained stripes and stylized bright-cut patterns. It's a lot of intricate engraving, yet so minute and finely balanced that the overall effect is of quiet elegance. The connectors, too, are simple and graceful, not frou-frou. They're of the Edwardian type with one end that swivels, while the other remains fixed.

Besides the Belais 14k White Gold Front stamps, the cufflinks are signed HWK Co. and Talon Grip Trademark. The HWK Company was formed during 1905 in Providence, RI, a major jewelry center then. Their Talon Grip fasteners were highly esteemed and Belais white gold, of course, set the standard for excellence. HWK closed by the 1920s, but the Belais Brothers went on to dominate the white gold jewelry market until its collapse following the Crash of 1929.

With fashion's return to the elegance of French cuffs, antique cufflinks are flying off our shelves as fast as we can find them -- particularly those by Belais, because they're so highly collectible. These reached us from a Pennsylvania estate.

Thanks for looking!



Antique Art Deco Enamel Cufflinks Vivid Blue and Gold

Catalogue: Archives: Estate Jewelry: Accessories: Cufflinks: Pre 1930   item# 703274

Antique Art Deco Enamel Cufflinks Vivid Blue and Gold
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GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
505.205.1404


Sold; thank you! 

These antique doubled-faced cufflinks couldn't be more Art Deco -- or more spectacular -- and, beyond the immediate impact of strong color contrast and pure geometry, a lot more is going on, too. Arts and Crafts influence becomes apparent as you look closely through the translucent guilloché enamels at the intricate engraving beneath. Those shimmering golden diamonds are crossed by a zigzag motif that, in the Celtic design vocabulary so important to the Arts and Crafts movement, symbolizes thunderbolts or streaks of lightning -- which in turn portend an encounter with the transcendent. Circling these, the rounds of rich cobalt blue feature a tracery of swirls, mysterious and very ancient forms suggesting paths of energy; you might see them as waves, curling flames, roots or tendrils. Obviously this is very different guilloché work than the usual, and it may well have been engraved by hand, rather than machine.

These beauties reached us from a Chicago estate and probably were made there, where many skilled and innovative jewelers were based during the early 20th century. Unfortunately there isn't a signature, nor is the metal marked. I expect it's either silver of a sturdier grade than sterling or one of those hard-wearing cousins of platinum (chromium or rhodium). It's much lighter and brighter in person than in the photograph. Mountings, connectors and the enamelwork are in lovely condition, showing only slight wear. Size is 9/16" round.

There's no charge for insured U.S. shipping and gift-wrap is always free when desired. Please e-mail erinharris@comcast.net to confirm availability, order or request more photos. Thanks for looking!



Antique Jeweled Gilt Mesh Suffragette Brooch c 1900

Catalogue: Archives: Estate Jewelry: Gold: Victorian: Pre 1910   item# 702985

Antique Jeweled Gilt Mesh Suffragette Brooch c 1900
 click for details

GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
505.205.1404


Sold; thank you!  

This antique Suffragette brooch is the largest I've ever seen, proudly featuring the colors so important to early feminists: green, white and violet, the first letters of which stood for "Give Women (the) Vote". Green also represented hope; white signified the purity of their intentions; and violet was a reference to dignity ("the royal purple").

Here, in a highly dimensional 2.75" by 2.5" mounting of gilt mesh, a huge cabochon of amethyst glass is framed by a wreath of 20 faceted emerald pastes and four creamy faux pearls set in swirling Prince of Wales Feathers. These are wonderful stones, almost certainly Bohemian (technically Czech, if made after World War I).

As you know if you collect Suffragette jewelry, it was worn from Victorian times until around 1920 in the U.S. and nearly 1930 in the U.K. Dating the jewels can be a puzzle, because of this and also because they usually show little wear. Most women wore them only occasionally and tucked them away after the vote was gained.

In the case of this brooch, which is in such lovely condition you could almost mistake it for new, we can rule out the Edwardian era based on size. Edwardian jewels tended to be delicate and airy, as you know, and they often featured white metals. Thus, it must be Victorian or post-World War I. Obviously it has a Victorian look and shows both Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts influences, but some Victorian styles were revived in the 1920s. Either way, it would be antique by American 75-year standards. I'm persuaded to a circa 1900 dating, based on the findings. The safety clasp is of the type introduced around 1890, with two levers instead of one; the hinge is the old 19th century type, which lets the pinstem wobble a bit from side to side; and the pinstem shows evidence of being snipped and filed down at some time -- not a bad idea since the extra-long ones could so easily draw blood, which is why they phased out during the earliest years of the 20th century and seldom appeared after World War I.

This is a very substantial brooch, weighing around 30 grams (on my inexact kitchen scale), so it's something you'd want to wear on a jacket or coat rather than delicate fabrics. The original idea must have been for it to appear on outerwear during women's marches and to be big enough for onlookers not to miss. It may well have been present at the historic female suffrage parades in New York City, being from a Connecticut estate.

Forgotten for decades, Suffragette jewelry has been rapidly gaining value since the movie "Iron Jawed Angels" appeared in 2004, revealing what the gals went through (including hunger strikes and beatings). Wearing Suffragette jewels is a great way to show your pride and appreciation and, now that the genre has been rediscovered, they're getting much harder to find. We try our best to maintain a good selection, but demand keeps growing. If this strikes your fancy, you'd better not delay.

Thanks for looking!



Rare BELAIS White Gold & Yellow Gilt Antique Cufflinks

Catalogue: Archives: Estate Jewelry: Accessories: Cufflinks: Pre 1910   item# 701573

Rare BELAIS White Gold & Yellow Gilt Antique Cufflinks
 click for details

GlitzQueen History and Art to Wear
505.205.1404


Sold; thank you! 

Despite making a specialty of Belais jewelry for several years, I've previously seen their famous white gold appear with yellow gold in only four instances (two of which we were privileged to sell). Here the Belais 14k tops are set in gilded frames for a look of remarkable opulence. Move over, Diamond Jim! Too, on the practical level, the mixture of metals means you can wear these beautifully with rings and watches of either color.

Also unusual is the motif engraved on each of the cufflinks' four slightly concave oval faces. Most Belais cufflinks are obviously Art Deco, but these are earlier, detailed with a refined delicacy that's thoroughly Edwardian. Also indicating great age are the connectors, which have a fancy scrolling shape typical of Art Nouveau, a Victorian style that persisted into Edwardian times.

These cufflinks, I believe, date from early in the Edwardian era -- circa 1905. That was the year when the HWK Company was formed in Providence, RI, a major jewelry center then. HWK held the Talon Grip trademark and the reverses here are signed HWK and TALON GRIP, as well as BELAIS 14K WHITE GOLD FRONT. Size is about 3/4 of an inch by 1/2 inch, provenance is a Missouri estate and condition is very nice. The faces of these are in lovely shape but, due to more surface wear than usual to the backs and connectors, we've priced them substantially lower than other two-toned Belais cufflinks. It may well be possible to brighten those areas with a little polishing, but in any case they'd never be seen when worn.

With fashion's return to the elegance of French cuffs, antique cufflinks are flying off our shelves as fast as we can find them, particularly those by Belais. When you possess a piece bearing that legendary name, quite simply you own the best of the best, because the Belais Brothers were the *gods* of white gold jewelry in the early 20th century (circa 1900-1930) until the Great Depression caused the company's closure by destroying the market for luxury goods. If these appeal to, you'd better not delay.

Thanks for looking!


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